American Composer

American Composer

Patricio da Silva (1973) is an American composer noted for his eclectic and personal musical style. His diverse musical work includes compositions for instrumental, electronic, and algorithmic music. He has composed for the traditional concert hall, opera, theater, film, and multimedia.

Music Festivals

His instrumental classical music has been performed at major European and American concert halls and classical music festivals, including in the USA, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Ojai Music Festival, and in Germany, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. Since 2010, his Guitar Concerto has been featured multiple times with the syndicated radio show "Classical Guitar Alive" with Tony Morris, totaling over a thousand broadcasts by over three hundred classical music radio stations from the USA and Canada, Europe to The Philippines.

Awards and Honors

Patricio da Silva's awards include the International Barto Prize for piano music, the Music for Tomorrow Prize, the composer in residence with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra for two consecutive seasons, and orchestral music selected by the American Composers Forum for new American orchestral music repertoire. Commissions and support include, among others, Merryl Lynch, the Ojai Music Festival, the American Harp Society, Gould Foundation, Betty Freeman Foundation, Otto Eckstein Foundation, Ford Schumann Foundation, and Norton Stevens Foundation.

Music Education

As a young man, Patricio da Silva had two parallel music worlds. From age 7, he learned classical piano and was introduced to Iberian, German, French, Italian, and Russian repertoires. In addition, from age 10 through his early teens, he also played the flute in a community band. While the conservatory provided structured knowledge, the exposure to making music in a community band, side by side with local farm workers and glass artisans, gave da Silva a privileged, first-hand understanding of the social functions of music, with a repertoire ranging from classics' highlights to Sousa Marches, from passodobles (also, pasodoble) for the traditional Portuguese Bullfights to Processional and Religious Music.

Members of Banda Filarmónica da Maiorga
Patrício da Silva (flute, lower-right)

His music studies first started in his hometown in Alcobaca, Portugal, at the age of 7. He first enrolled at a conservatory at the age of 13 in Figueira da Foz studying piano with Beatriz Cardozo, a former pupil of Vianna da Motta, one of Franz Liszt's last disciples, and a virtuoso of international reputation, composer, conductor, and pedagogue.

Meanwhile, with his fellow band members, he went on to perform as a member of this community band all over Portugal. Many of the gigs included the typical religious processions of catholic cultures, parades, and concerts in outdoor venues, traditional concert halls, and bullfight arenas on the national TV station RTP. The young da Silva also took part in the Band's first international tour to Monaco and the south of France and took part in the 1st Centenary celebratory season.

Back at the conservatory, a piano audition at the end of his first year attracts the attention of Gilberta Paiva, a notable Portuguese music pedagogue. Two years later, at age 15, Patricio da Silva becomes her full-time student and assistant for the next three years, until college age.

With Gilberta Paiva, at the age of 17, Patricio da Silva won first prize in the National Piano Competition Maria Campina, graduated from high school at the National Conservatory School of Music in Lisbon and was admitted to the Lisbon College of Music that same year in the class of Jorge Moyano at the Lisbon College of Music, ranking 2nd place in piano, and 1st place in both Music Analysis and Composition. He graduated in 1994 in piano performance, officially enrolling in composition courses with Antonio Pinho Vargas.

Piano Recital by Patrício da Silva, Santarém, 1988
Patrício da Silva, piano recital, Santarém, 1988

20 Years in America

Patricio da Silva immigrated to the USA in January of 1996. He studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts with the founding fathers of the school: Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Stephen Lucky Mosko. He attended the Darmstadt Music Courses in Germany in 1998 and in 2002 the Stockhausen courses. In 2003, he was awarded a doctoral degree in composition by the University of California, studying composition with William Kraft and electronic music with Curtis Roads at UC Santa Barbara, and concurrently, algorithmic composition and music with Artificial Intelligence with David Cope at UC Santa Cruz.

In 2003, da Silva moved back to Europe to proceed with his work on algorithmic composition and music with Artificial Intelligence, first with a post-doc at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), in Paris, France, and a year later, on the Devon coast in the UK, with the support of the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation, returning to California in 2005.

He holds both Portuguese and American citizenship.